Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Repair Warranty

When you purchase a new Powell flute or piccolo, the instrument comes with a one-year warranty (which you can read about by following this link to our previous post on the warranty).  In addition to this warranty, repair work is covered under a warranty as well, as you will see below:
C.O.A.s are covered by a 30 day warranty and overhauls are covered by a 90 day warranty. If your flute is overhauled with Straubinger pads, pad seating is covered under the warranty; with felt pads, seating is not covered. The warranty is void if anyone other than Powell (unless approved in advance) works on the instrument during this period.
Much like the instrument warranty, if someone other than Powell works on your instrument during the repair warranty period, this warranty may be voided.  This is because it would not be possible for our repair department to evaluate and assess our original repair work if additional work is done afterwards by someone else.  So, if you have questions about your instrument after receiving it back from repair at Powell, make sure to call our repair department right away.  The work is covered under warranty, and our repair technician will be happy to help!

Friday, March 20, 2015

No Extras Needed

So you're done with a rehearsal or practice session, fold your polishing cloth neatly, place it over your flute, and close the case.  No problem, right?  Well, actually, we had a student flute in the repair shop this week, and when our Repair Technician, Rachel Baker, opened the case, she noticed a cloth over the flute, which prompted this little reminder...

Don't put anything in your flute case except the flute.  If you have a cloth covering the flute, it will press against the keys when you close the case.  Rachel mentioned that polishing cloths can be kind of bulky, and not only do they exert unnecessary pressure on the mechanism, they can also get caught on key pads, causing the pads to tear.  As for other items -- maybe a swabstick, pencil, etc. -- if they are placed in the case, they can move around, bumping into the flute and causing damage.

Placing additional items in the case outside of the flute is definitely not a good thing -- and placing them inside the flute is also a no-no.  You don't want to leave your swab in the flute after your are done swabbing out.  Rachel says, "You get all the moisture out, and then you put it back in" if you leave the swab in the flute.

There is one exception to the rule -- an anti-tarnish square.  These can be placed on the flat area of the case on the far left, as you'll see in the photo below.  Other than this small anti-tarnish square (usually a strip or a very small sponge-like material), make sure there are no "extra" items in the case or on the flute.  Remembering the simple rule of "nothing goes in the case except the flute" should keep your flute happy and healthy!

Anti-tarnish square is on flat spot on the far left of the case (next to body tenon).

Friday, March 13, 2015

Retrofit D# Roller

We stopped by the repair shop this week to chat with Repair Technician, Rachel Baker.  One of her customers asked if there are any "adverse effects" to adding a D# roller to your flute.  Adverse effects... Hmm...  So, we wondered if that meant sound or aesthetics.  Rachel told us that in terms of sound, aesthetics, and mechanics, there is no downside to retrofitting a D# roller to your flute.  Why is this?  Well, it's because the only thing required for this is a different D# spatula, which is part of the full key mechanism.  We have D# spatulas with and without a roller, so it's pretty much a part swap-out and not a change for the existing spatula.  No need to worry that you'll have a "Frankenflute" with mismatched or oddly customized parts.  If you're interested in getting a D# roller, it's perfectly safe, and it will certainly not change the aesthetics, sound, or mechanics of your flute. Also, the D# roller is available for flutes with silver keys or gold keys.

Yellow circle around the D# spatula (without a roller) on a 9k Custom flute.
A 9k Custom flute with a D# spatula that has a roller.  This is what a "retrofit" D# roller would look like.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Braiding the Zipper Pull

One question we received recently was about the zipper pull on our leather Powell case covers.  We know it gets much wear and tear and has come unraveled for some Powell owners. Our repair technician was even stumped, but she did offer the recommendation of contacting craft stores or other people who may have experience making braided jewelry.  After a bit more research, we discovered that a trip to the craft store may not be needed -- you can watch video tutorials!

The braid is a 4-strand "diamond braid" or "round braid."  We hope the videos below will help. You'll have two middle strands and two outer strands.  Each outer strand will go back around the two middle strands and then through them. You'll do this in succession, alternating the outer strands. It's much easier to watch, though!  One thing we could not find was how to tie the end of the braid.  From what we've seen, it looks like a regular knot should work, but feel free to explore the web for some more intricate knots.

Friday, February 27, 2015

More Than a Day?

Takes a while to settle after adjustments are made.

Have you ever sent your flute in for repair and wondered why it took more than a day?  Well, this week, we had the chance to chat with Powell's Repair Technician, Rachel Baker, to answer the question...

She told us that it takes time for a flute to settle in after adjustments are made.  After the flute settles, Rachel tests it again, and it may need more adjustments -- which then requires more "settling in time."  She said, "You may not know how many adjustments you might have to make," so the cycle of adjusting, settling, and re-testing takes time. She continues the process and knows the flute is ready when it is no longer changing.  At that point, the flute is stable and ready to go back to its owner.

One thing to note is that the "settling in" can be a few hours or even overnight.  So, although the process does take more than a day, it is well worth it -- for both you and your flute!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Closed Hole Keys - Part II

In last week's post, we addressed one of the questions a customer with closed hole keys had about changing over to open hole keys.  As you'll recall, this was not something that our repair technician recommended, since an entirely new mechanism would have to be built and retrofitted to the body.

The next two questions the customer had involved the flute's scale.  Specifically, he asked the following, (1) Does a flute with closed hole keys have a different scale than one with open hole keys? (2) Does a flute with an offset G have a different scale than a flute with an inline G?  The answer to both of the questions is the same -- no difference.  The scale is the same whether the flute has closed hole or open hole keys, and the scale is also the same for flutes with an offset or inline G.  Why is this?  Well, it's actually quite simple.  The scale is determined by the relative distance between tone holes.  You might remember this from a previous post on the Flute Builder blog, which you can read by following this link.  So, the type of key (closed or open hole) would have no affect on scale.  Also, even though the position of the G tone holes on an offset G flute are different from the position of the tone holes on one with an inline G, the relative distance allows for both configurations to have the same scale.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Closed Hole Keys - Part I

This week, a customer with a Powell that had closed hole keys (American cups) stopped by the repair shop.  He had several questions about the closed-hole keys, so we thought we would share the answers!  In this first post of our two-part series, we wanted to address his main question -- changing the keys.  Although he had owned his Powell for many, many years, he started thinking about perhaps changing over to open hole keys (French cups).  So, he asked Rachel if this could be done...

Rachel replied that technically, anything is possible, but she wouldn't recommend making that sort of a change, because the entire flute mechanism would have to be rebuilt.  You may recall our discussion about changing the mechanism from a previous post which you can read by following this link.  It is a process that is extremely complicated, time consuming, expensive, and well, simply not very practical.  In fact, Rachel tells us that in a case like this, it would be better to simply purchase a new flute with open-hole keys.  Also, she said that with a major rebuilding process, changes would have to be made to the flute, and anytime you make a major change, you won't know exactly how the flute will play until after the repair is complete.  Her main advice in this situation is, "If you like the way your flute plays and sounds, don't change it."  That certainly makes sense!